What Are California Home Sellers Required to Tell a Buyer?
When selling a home in Sacramento, many home sellers have no idea what they are required to tell a buyer and what kinds of disclosures for selling California real estate they must provide. A crucial service that real estate agents provide for home sellers as a Sacramento listing agent is to explain to clients how to complete the real estate disclosures and related paperwork. Because of all of the lawsuits, it’s not easy to complete the paperwork. The lawyers make the paperwork very difficult for a regular homeowner.
For example, in the Transfer Disclosure Statement, a question that is often overlooked because it does not have a number next to it and the type size is small is whether the seller lives there. It asks: Seller is BOX [or] is not BOX occupying the property. A seller called me yesterday to ask if she was an occupant because she did not know the answer to that question, yet she is a reasonably intelligent woman. It’s possible that she was at somebody else’s house when she was completing the TDS and perhaps interpreted the question literally. Dunno.
Why can’t the form ask if the property is a rental or a residence? Or, to make it simpler, do you live in this home? Or, do you live in this home 12 months out of the year? Or, have you ever rented your home? Is your home rented now?
This is just the first question. What else are California home sellers required to tell buyers? You’d be amazed.
I have no idea how sellers who represent themselves as a For Sale by Owner manage to complete their real estate disclosures without competent direction. These are the documents that after escrow closes the buyer may choose to sue the seller about, to go to court over. The one thing that is often standing between the seller and a judgment are the seller disclosures. They have no clue what are California home sellers required to tell buyers.
It’s not so much what a seller says sometimes as how the seller says it. A Sacramento real estate agent, while she cannot complete the form for a seller nor give a seller legal advice, she can certainly offer guidance. Let’s not even talk about the four-page Seller Property Questionnaire at this point and its question about pre-1978 that nobody but an agent understands.
Home sellers need to be truthful and honest and answer each and every question. They should keep nothing from the buyer. If you have a question about your real estate disclosures, call your Sacramento real estate agent before answering.